The Nevada Wolf Pack did what almost no one thought was possible, they defeated the mighty Boise State Broncos last night in Reno. After BSU missed the the game winning field goal in regulation and another three-pointer in OT, Nevada capped a furious comeback to finally defeat the Bronocs.
Nevada's Colin Kaepernick went 19 for 35 through the air for 259 yard s and a TD and had 10 rushes for 45 yards and a TD. It was the 56th rushing TD of his career. The Wolf Pack rolled up 269 yards rushing.
"Shocking, stunning" was how most at the game characterized the win. The TV pundits seemed almost as shocked as the Boise fans, many of whom lingered in Mackay Stadium after the game in silent stunned disbelief. The win by Nevada ended the nations' longest winning streak, BSU's BCS hopes and probably Kellen Moore's shot at the Heisman.
But if folks are surprised by Nevada's win, they shouldn't be. This victory was not surprising or stunning at all to those who have actually watched Nevada over the past four years. Here's why. In the preceding three games, Nevada scored 135 points against BSU and lost all three games by tiny margins. Averaging 45 points per game, Nevada lost all three games on defense. A pattern was evident. Nevada would dig themselves into a hole early, then mount furious comebacks that fell just short, but racked up huge point totals against the Broncos in the process.Nevada consistently outscored BSU in the second half in '07 and '08 and from the second quarter on in '09. Last night was no different. For whatever reason, the Wolf Pack dominates BSU in second halves.
Last night's game had a similar pattern. Nevada fell behind early and was down 24-7 at half time. But in the second half, the Wolf Pack once again outscored BSU handily, 27 - 7, tying the game twice in the final minutes. When BSU missed the game winner, it went to overtime with shades of the epic 69-67 4 OT thriller in '07.
All Nevada needed was a modicum of defense to beat BSU. This win became possible when Nevada Head Coach Chris Ault recruited defensive coordinator Andy Buh. The improved Nevada defense was evident from the first game of the season. Although spotty at times, Nevada was a completely different team on defense this year. Last night they held BSU's offense to 31 points. They have now scored 169 points against BSU in four games.
Surprising? No. Predictable to those who have actually been watching.